The holiday seasons are near, and the end of 2019 is rapidly approaching. I am happy to announce that our City Council has approved the contract for our new City Administrator, Bob Larson. We are excited and eagerly anticipating welcoming Bob to our team, who will officially start on January 6, 2020. Bob is presently and has been the City Administrator of Snoqualmie for approximately 15 years. He comes to us with over 20 years of City Manager/City Administrator experience in both Washington and Minnesota. We are excited to welcome Bob who will come support our council, staff, community and myself as we move towards fulfilling the needs of our city. I have spent many hours with Bob getting to know him. He is supportive of our vision and mission and is eager to start a new chapter of his life with our city.
We are sad that many long-term employees are retiring, but we are excited for their new adventures. I’d like to thank Marline McClane and Kay Johnson for their commitment of serving our community. Marline has touched so many of our hearts in the past 29 years, and we are happy that she still wants to be connected to our city through volunteering. Kay has served all departments as our Information Systems Manager for over 21 years, and her contributions have made our communications to our citizens run smoothly. Thank you both for your longstanding commitment to Gig Harbor.
We are pleased to welcome two new employees who have recently joined our team. Kerri Rowan brings over 14 years of experience from the City of Auburn Police and is now serving as our Police Service Specialist. Tressa Smith brings several years of experience where she worked as a Legal Assistant and Deputy Clerk in Wisconsin and is now serving as our Court Clerk. Please say “hello” and welcome both Kerri and Tressa to our team.
We would like to thank Mimi Jansen and Diane Bertram for their dedicated contributions to our Tourism and Communications Department. Mimi has been the Interim Communications and Tourism Manager for almost a year. She accepted the challenge and jumped right in when the city needed help, and we are so honored to have her temporarily fill that role. We would also like to thank Diane who worked part-time behind the scenes to aid in the department’s success.
We would also like to congratulate and welcome our new City Councilmembers Robyn Denson, Le Rodenberg and Tracie Markley. Tracie will be sworn in on November 26, 2019 at 3:30 PM and on January 13, 2020, all three councilmembers will be sworn in to take the Oath of Office. On December 9, 2019, we will be honoring three outgoing councilmembers Ken Malich, Michael Perrow and Spencer Hutchins. A reception will be at 4:45 PM prior to their last council meeting that evening at 5:30 PM. I’d like to encourage the public to attend these events, thanking some for their service to our community and welcoming others. We have been hearing that the traffic is a major problem in our city and now our citizens have passed the Transportation Benefit District “TBD” Proposition #1 to help fund solutions. This allows our city to raise the sales tax two tenths of a percent to 8.7% for our road improvements. This will only amount to 20 cents per $100 and will remain one of the lowest sales taxes within the Puget Sound Region. This will allow our city to raise roughly $16 million over the next 10 years for new construction of roads and traffic improvements. It is not for maintenance, sidewalks or curbs, that will be funded in other ways. The city will also now be in a better position to obtain matching grant opportunities that come our way. This will benefit everyone that enters our city, yet only a small portion will have to be paid for by our citizens.
At the last two council meetings, Councilmembers worked on Ordinances that deal with Recreation Halls in our Waterfront Zone, Minimum Lot Size, Development Agreements and our 2020 Gig Harbor City Budget. We will still be finalizing the budget at our next council meeting on November 25, 2019.
On Veterans Day I was fortunate enough to be in our Nation’s Capital on a personal vacation. I walked through the Smithsonian Museum, the American History Museum and through many of the monuments honoring our men and women who fought for our country. Many never came home or were wounded and were never the same. Without each of them, and many more at home supporting their efforts, we would not be here today. Thank you to all of our veterans for your sacrifice and for allowing us the freedoms we enjoy.